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The You're Fucking Pushing It, Zeitgeist Award

By Conrad Amenta | 15 December 2009

Apple’s Half-Screen iPod Ads on Every Music Website

I understand that iPod changed the way we listen to music. I understand that now, in those dark moments when I absolutely fucking must listen to the first three minutes of some Superchunk record I liked when I was twenty, that I am able. I understand that this is important not only because of how liberating access is, but because it helps me to understand that nostalgia is about 97% bullshit. I understand that iPod is about the Now, about history that only exists in the monstrous and forever Present, about not knowing or caring about anything but instantly having what I want. I understand that the iPod Nano is available in a selection of colors.

I know this because Apple’s reached a threshold of saturation, of ubiquity, that now sees them resorting to such scorched earth tactics as those traditionally wielded by the Cokes and McDonald’s of the world—if you can’t squeeze into any more niches, get louder and get everywhere at once. Convince me that I’m ugly without you. Lately it seems like every music related website freezes momentarily while a selection of slightly skippier, slightly less slutty American Apparel models loads up and dances enormous and hysterical across your screen. For most of us, tucked away up there in the upper right hand corner, a little X signals reprieve, but my uncle’s 486 has a stroke when he tries to read about Santana’s Caravanserai on Allmusic.

My point being that obscene profits are great, and then you alienate the shit out of the culture you’ve developed around having a genuinely relevant product. Your bottom line audience is complex, confused, impassioned, artful—thorough. The primary color baby tactics will get old fast.